End of Project evaluation: Pilot Project to Support Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas in the DPRK (SED)

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Evaluation Plan:
2011-2019, DPR Korea
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
10/2019
Completion Date:
10/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title End of Project evaluation: Pilot Project to Support Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas in the DPRK (SED)
Atlas Project Number: 00074805
Evaluation Plan: 2011-2019, DPR Korea
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2019
Planned End Date: 10/2019
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: TRAC
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 25,400
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Jeff Fang SED Evaluator jeff@icmac.asia
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: DPRK -DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Lessons
1.

Conclusion #1: Significant External Factors/Challenges Severely Affected the Project

 

Significant external factors/challenges beyond the control of the UNDP DPRK CO were encountered throughout the entire SED project implementation, and severely affected the timely delivery of project outputs and eventual achievement of results.

 

In particular, the evaluation highlights below the 3 external factors/challenges as the main constraints.

 

  1. 6 Rounds of UN Sanctions on DPRK (2016-2017)
  2. Extended Period of Banking Channel Disruptions/Closure
  3. Lengthy negotiation and clearance process for the partnership agreement between UNDP and UNIDO

     

    Lesson Learned:

     

  1. The SED Project in its entirety demonstrated a need for:
  • long-term scenario planning together with annual reviews for change of direction to form part of risk assessment and mitigations in special country context projects.
  • organizational policies and procedures should also be continuously reviewed and updated, if necessary, to resolve and minimize issues in the event of changing unforeseen circumstances

 

  1. Implementing the SED Project without a concluded partnership agreement resulted in the significant delays to commencing project activities and the inability to deliver the desired results. 

     

    This also caused potential economic hardship/losses and productivity/job losses to the 3 counties who were understandably frustrated and disappointed by the prolonged delay of the partnership agreement, which was only finalized 2.5 years after the commencement of the SED Project.

     

    Partnership agreements with clear roles and responsibilities should therefore be concluded before commencement of any projects.

     

    Conclusion #2: The UNDP SED Project Team Has Done Their Best But There is Room For Improvement

 

The SED Project Team has done their best to implement the project despite encountering the significant external factors/challenges beyond the control of the UNDP DPRK CO throughout the entire SED Project. However, improvements could still be further strengthened in the following areas:

  1. Continuous monitoring on the use of delivered items and assets in full operations and production to determine actual result
  2. Field data collection to measure effectiveness and impact on completed project activities
  3. For improved financial accountability and transparency purposes, future financial reporting of UNDP DPRK projects should track and report progress of consistent financial figures i.e. budget and actual expenditure for consistent comparisons between budget and actual expenditure, as per project outputs, based on project CDRs, for submissions of all relevant project reports (including annual progress reports), to demonstrate the efficient use of funding on project output-based activities.

     

     

     

    Lesson Learned:

     

    To maintain sustainability and determine any project output/activity effectiveness and impact, even after any formal hand-over and/or completion of project output technical support and assistance, it is important that project teams, during the project duration period, still  continue monitoring and reporting on post project initiatives, including the use of the assets and delivered equipment items after handover to project beneficiaries. This would ensure that they are still in sustainable/good working condition when in full operation and in full production to determine the expected impact results.

     

    For improved financial accountability and transparency purposes, financial reporting processes should be consistent, especially on the tracking and reporting of financial figures (budget and actual expenditure) and consistent comparisons between budget and actual expenditure to demonstrate the efficient use of funding on project output-based activities.

     

    Conclusion #3: Strong National Ownership is the Key to Overcome Any Difficulties Faced and Achieve Optimum Results

     

    An important result demonstrated in the SED Project was how the intended project outputs address country priorities and also fit within the county development priorities with new strategies and initiatives being planned for sustainable living and livelihoods. This was further strengthened with strong support and commitment from DPRK National/Local Counterparts.

     

    The high level of national and local ownership for the Pistia Centre and Spirulina Centres in Unchon and Unryul Counties (South Hwanghae Province) ensured sustainability and positive environmental impact, despite the SED Project encountering external challenges that severely constrained the project beneficiaries.

     

    Lesson Learned:

     

    Strong national ownership through strong support and commitment, accompanied by capacity building and climate change adaptation activities, would play an essential key role to overcome any difficulties faced and achieve optimum results.


Findings
1.

See above: Findings/Conclusions/Lessons Learnt


Recommendations
1

Develop PRODOCS that take into close consideration the issues faced in special country context like DPRK

2

Improve financial reporting processes

3

Review and update extensively the country office policies and procedures with long-term scenario planning

4

Develop a robust M&E system at project level

5

Develop and implement a Sustainable Production and Consumption Supply Chain e.g. for the Pistia and Spirulina production and wild fruits processing

6

Build capacity continuously in sustainable agriculture, farming and food production practices

1. Recommendation:

Develop PRODOCS that take into close consideration the issues faced in special country context like DPRK

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Simplify partnership arrangements and the governance modality appropriately led by UNDP with an agency partner or technical working/advisory group (preferably with in-country office presence) to minimize partnership complications. If any partnership agreement is required, this will be concluded with clear roles and responsibilities for accountability purposes, signed and attached as an annex to the signed PRODOC before the commencement of any projects.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, BRH 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
1.2 Appropriately identify and initially formulate technical design specifications/requirements during the fact-finding mission prior to developing the PRODOC.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, BRH 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
2. Recommendation:

Improve financial reporting processes

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Report consistent financial figures for comparisons of actual expenditures versus planned budget as per project outputs in submissions of all important reports, to demonstrate the efficient use of funding as well as financial accountability and transparency.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, project team 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
3. Recommendation:

Review and update extensively the country office policies and procedures with long-term scenario planning

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Work with RBAP and BRH to extensively review and update all operational, procurement and financial management policies and procedures responding to the changed situations for appropriately mitigating any future constraints
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, BRH, RBAP 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
3.2 Strengthen long-term scenario planning processes with appropriate risk assessments and counter-measures to ensure that suitable policies and procedures can be implemented to resolve and minimize issues in the event of unforeseen circumstances
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, project team 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
4. Recommendation:

Develop a robust M&E system at project level

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Strengthen the monitoring of operations of project supported facilities including the use of the assets and delivered items, after handover to project beneficiaries, and collection of reliable data, during project implementation visits in addition to program monitoring, in order to have evidence-based project results reporting and replication
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO program and project teams 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
5. Recommendation:

Develop and implement a Sustainable Production and Consumption Supply Chain e.g. for the Pistia and Spirulina production and wild fruits processing

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Develop and complete the full agriculture/food supply chain for UNDP projects in such area, incorporating climate change adaption/resilience capabilities to overcome severe climate change conditions, to upscale and fully commercialize the production of agricultural and food products for increased nutrition and food security in DPRK
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, BRH 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
5.2 Facilitate knowledge/operational transfer of successful pilot initiatives (Pistia and Spirulina Centers as key examples) with procedural, operational and hands-on training manuals for wider replications in close partnership with national/local counterparts.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, national and local counterparts 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
6. Recommendation:

Build capacity continuously in sustainable agriculture, farming and food production practices

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/21]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Develop and deliver foundation and advanced hands-on/practical courses in sustainable agriculture, farming and food production practices overcoming / adapting to severe climate change.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, project team 2020/04 Completed Project closed History
6.2 Develop and deliver foundation and advanced hands-on/practical courses specifically relating to enhancing gender equality and improving the women’s living and livelihood standards.
[Added: 2019/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/04/22]
CO, project team 2020/04 Completed Project closed History

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